Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Someone told me Arnold has one of the biggest egos in Hollywood (who hasn't one of those in Tinsel Town?), so I figured that I wouldn't much care for his memoir TOTAL RECALL, which is subtitled "My Unbelievably True Life Story." Published in 2012 during a time when he was being criticized for fathering a child not with his wife, (as well as allegations of sexual harassment from several other women), it really shows just how gutsy Republicans can be, to not only pen but also aid in the production of an audiobook running 25 hours on 20 CDs. (George Bush and Dick Cheney wrote memoirs too, but those were shorter, albeit more distorted.) Where did Arnold get this competitive, against-all-odds drive? From his father, for one, who pushed him hard and also slapped him around. A German soldier during the war, his dad was among a large group of men who felt they'd been castrated by events, and so Arnold decided that the land of the victors (America) was where he wanted to go. Through bodybuilding, he pursued his dream to leave Austria, and later conquered Hollywood as Conan. Every movie since is examined, in intimate detail, along with his relationships with directors, actors, politicians and women (including Maria.) He and Michael Jordan are shown to have something in common: insanely competitive willpower. This is evident in the last chapter too, which outlines his life's battle plan in his own voice. Right or wrong, he's not one to take no for an answer. The audiobook is mainly narrated by actor Stephen Lang, whose experience in narration and voice acting has always been dependably consistent and understated. Having acted the tough guy in Avatar, and in the Conan sequel, he's a good choice here. Like or dislike Arnold, he's definitely not one who would get away with saying "I can't recall" on the stand in a courtroom, as this audiobook plainly demonstrates.

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